Jets fans, who are notorious for booing any player their team selects at the NFL Draft, broke into thunderous cheers at Radio City Music Hall Friday night upon hearing that Gang Green had chosen Geno Smith. The reason for this euphoria was the belief that beleaguered Mark Sanchez’s days as a Jet were numbered.
I hate to spoil the fans’ fun, but the Jets would be better off having Smith learn the NFL by watching the action and holding a clipboard this year the way that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and so many other greats did in their first pro season.
Sanchez is guaranteed over $8 million this year even if the Jets were to cut him, so they might as well get their money’s worth by having him play the season. Sanchez was awful last year, but in his defense, he had no offensive line to protect him, a mediocre running game and less than stellar receivers to throw to after Santonio Holmes was lost for the season with a leg injury. Having Smith on the roster should ignite Sanchez to improve dramatically and quickly.
Dee Milliner, the University of Alabama cornerback the Jets selected with the ninth pick of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, chuckled when I asked him in the press room at Radio City Music Hall if he had prepared a list of cliches to spout about how he shouldn’t be compared with the recently departed Darrelle Revis. Milliner did cite Revis as one of his NFL heroes, but stated that he is prepared to step into his position this fall.
Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, who traded up to get the third pick in the draft. Jordan said he is excited about the opportunity to chase Patriots QB Tom Brady all over the field twice a season when he was asked about facing him by a reporter. He chuckled when I mentioned that Sanchez would be an easier target.
LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo, selected by the Browns with the sixth pick, was by far the most engaging player to address the press room. He admitted that he had read a lot of the mock drafts that had him being selected by the Jets with the ninth pick and was kind of hoping that would happen because of the endorsement opportunities that come with playing in New York. “I am sure that there are nice things about working in Cleveland,” he added. He broke into a laugh when I asked him to contact me if he discovers any.
Tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan University was the draft’s top pick. While he was euphoric about being selected first he admitted that he was well aware there is something strange about not being able to have the right to negotiate with all NFL teams.
Fisher is right. As glamorous as the NFL Draft is, there is little doubt that it’s a clear example of wealthy capitalistic team owners banding together to get higher profits by practicing socialism with respect to new players.
Although the NFL Draft is designed to throw a spotlight on incoming talent, it has become an excellent opportunity for veteran players and celebrities such as actress Paula Carces and model Carissa Rosario to make a few dollars and gain extra exposure through various draft-related events such as the ESPN Draft Party and the Art of Luxury Series. The latter is a smart amalgamation of a trade show for neophyte companies such as Tee Zee Watches and Donna Scott spa products, combined with a party atmosphere that attracts big names from all walks of life.
Among the NFL vets who attended the Art of Luxury events were Giants players Jason Pierre-Paul and Antrel Rolle and Jets safety Bret Lockett. Pierre-Paul was not surprised that his coach’s best-selling book, “Earn The Right To Win” (Portfolio), about how the lessons of football can lead to business success, was chock full of cliches about dedication and perseverance. “He is an old-school disciplinarian. That’s who he and he is never going to change,” Pierre-Paul said with a grin.
Lockett spent last season on the Patriots injured reserve list and is hoping to have an opportunity with the Jets. He should benefit by being in New York for another reason. With his movie-star looks, Lockett has dabbled with an entertainment career, as he has done both acting and singing.
If Lockett has any type of success with the Jets he may wind up with his own show on cable’s E! Network. At E!’s presentation last week to advertisers and media of current and impending shows, known in the TV biz as “The Upfront,” the celebrity-obsessed network had a number of programs with sports-related themes, such as “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” “Love And Other Contact Sports” and “WWE Divas.” The shows star, respectively, the gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer playing a dim-witted version of himself (I have a feeling that Michael Phelps passed on this); Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and his very comely wife, country singer Jessie James; and those very attractive girls of pro wrestling.
Former Giants QB Kurt Warner has nicely moved into a career in entertainment. He is an analyst with the NFL Network and is hosting “The Moment” on USA Network, a motivational show in which folks get a second chance at the career that they always dreamed about.
Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has to be worried about the lack of production he is getting from his starting pitchers with the exception of his two best starters, Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey. Alderson’s big free agent signing this past winter, Shawn Marcum, made his first appearance of the season Saturday as the Phillies hitters chased him from the game after three innings. Mets reliever Robert Carson threw gasoline on the fire by giving up five runs as soon as he took over for Marcum.
Last week I discussed Howie Rose’s biography, “Put It In The Book!” (Triumph Books). Here are two more literary suggestions for Mets fans. Former New York Times sports columnist Ira Berkow has just a published a compendium of his past columns on the Amazin’s, titled “Summers At Shea” (Triumph Books). Meanwhile longtime Mets scribe Matthew Silverman has written a delightful paperback, “Swinging ’73” (Lyons Press), that not only looks at the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets but everything that was going on in baseball 40 years ago.
To quote Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again as Ike Davis, who couldn’t hit a beach ball if it were tossed to him the first half of the 2012 season, is struggling at the plate again. Last Friday night Mets manager Terry Collins dropped Ike down to the seventh spot in the order. I asked Collins if he felt that some players’ psyches were affected by where they batted in the lineup. “There are some ballplayers who are bothered but I can tell you that all that Ike cares about is that his name is in the lineup,” the manager said. “Where he hits is not important to him.”
I guess you can make a team sport of just about anything including tossing a Frisbee. At Saturday’s Tribeca Film Festival Street Fair, members of the New York Rumble were giving demonstrations for the proper wrist technique for throwing a hard plastic disc. The Rumble are one of eight teams in Major League Ultimate, which combines aspects of football, rugby, and of course throwing a plastic circular disc. Major League Ultimate is prohibited from using the term Frisbee because it is a term trademarked by Wham-O. The Rumble are currently playing their home games at a high school field in Union City, NJ but a move to Queens in the future is not out of the question, according to a team executive.
Contrary to popular belief, the majestic Atlantic City boardwalk suffered very little damage from Superstorm Sandy. This weekend the Boardwalk Wine Promenade will take place, as domestic and foreign vintners will be dispensing their products. This event is not to be confused with the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival that takes place at the Caesars Entertainment properties there from July 25 to 28.
It had been a rather cold and gray spring until this past weekend, when we finally got the warm blue-sky weather we’ve long deserved. It was a reminder that the sun’s rays are getting more direct and that it’s not a bad idea to start putting on sun block. You can’t go wrong with classic standby brands such as Coppertone, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic, but there are a number of higher-end sunscreens in the market this year, from spa product providers including True Natural, Eminence, COOLA and the humourously named Kiss My Face.
You will need good sun block if you go this summer to the gateway of the American Southwest, Albuquerque, NM. Queens’ own JetBlue has just started daily air service to this delightful city, which has been woefully underserved by the aviation industry.
The quick capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers, through electronic surveillance and computers, seemed like a case of life imitating art. The terrific CBS Thursday night series “Person Of Interest” uses the idea of an omnipotent computer system that knows all as the core of its plotlines.